If football was played on paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers would be in trouble.
The offseason has certainly been a whirlwind for the Steelers, stemming from a potential Ben Roethlisberger retirement saga, seeing pivotal pieces leave in free agency and a certainly unexpected draft haul outside of Alabama running back Najee Harris.
Despite a plethora of questions surrounding the Steelers heading into 2021, Pittsburgh still heads into the new season with the crown of the AFC North. The organization (and their fans) believe the team is very much capable of defending the throne, with one of the best defenses in the league and a Hall of Fame quarterback still at the helm.
Oddsmakers? Not so much.
BetOnline currently has the Steelers at +360 to win the AFC North, good enough to finish third in the division behind current favorites in the Baltimore Ravens (+135) and Cleveland Browns (+125). Far behind the Steelers sit the Cincinnati Bengals in fourth, with whopping +1600 odds to take home the division.
With both Baltimore and Cleveland winning playoff games and advancing further in the playoffs than Pittsburgh, oddsmakers appear convinced the two teams are ready to fight for the divisional title heading into this season. With both the Ravens and Browns having strong draft classes, the case for either team to win the AFC North has only grown.
The Steelers' odds to win either the conference championship or the Super Bowl don't get stronger, either. Pittsburgh currently sits at +1800 to be crowned AFC champions (the same odds as the Dolphins and Titans), while their current Super Bowl odds are at +3300, good enough to be tied for the 14th-highest odds in the league.
Even the team's prop bets on making the playoffs aren't a good sign for where people believe the Steelers will finish, as oddsmakers believe they're likely to miss the playoffs with -175 odds to miss the postseason, and +145 to make the playoffs.
Their win total prop bet suggests the team won't be a complete dumpster fire, settling for an over/under of 8.5 wins with -130 odds of nine or more wins set as the favorite (+100 for under in comparison).
With four months until the regular season is set to begin, plenty of time exists for those odds to change in favor of the Steelers. Barring anything drastic, however, it appears the hype train outside of the Steel City is stagnant at best.
Whatever fans or skeptics believe, the Steelers have yet to be dethroned from the AFC North, and will have at least seventeen games to show football isn't played on paper.